With each passing day, the attacks on abortion rights are becoming increasingly frequent and extreme. In the past three months, three states have passed bills that ban abortion after six weeks — a time when many women are unaware they’re even pregnant. Last week, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed a near-full ban on the procedure, the harshest anti-abortion measure in the country. And any day now, Missouri governor Mike Parson is expected to pass yet another one, which bans the procedure after eight weeks, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or survivors of human trafficking.
In response to the flurry of anti-abortion legislation, on May 21, more than 50 organizations, including Planned Parenthood, SisterSong, NARAL, and the Women’s March will hold more than 400 demonstrations across the country as part of the National Day of Action to Stop the Bans. “Across the country, we are seeing a new wave of extreme bans on abortion, stripping away reproductive freedom and representing an all-out assault on abortion access,” reads the event website. “Politicians shouldn’t be making decisions best left to women, their families, and their doctors.”
Below, here’s what to know about the upcoming #StopTheBans actions.
When is the main protest?
Per the #StopTheBans website, the flagship event on May 21 will kick off in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., at 12 p.m., where everyone from NARAL president Ilyse Hogue to members of Congress are expected to be there.
Is there a demonstration in New York City?
Yes! New York City’s event will start at 5:30 p.m. at Foley Square, and is expected to go until 7:30 p.m. (You can RSVP to the Facebook event here.)
Are other cities hosting their own events?
Every state across the country, from California to Indiana to Florida, will host at least one event. To find the closest protest to you, visit the #StopTheBans website, which features a map of the 400-plus registered events. (As you’ll see on the website, there are additional events throughout the week.) In total, #StopTheBans organizers expect tens of thousands of people to join protests.
Is there anything I can do if I can’t join a protest?
Absolutely. If you can’t make it to an event, donate to grassroots organizations that are fighting for abortion rights in states with restrictive laws, or consider becoming an abortion-clinic escort. As advocates have repeatedly stressed, these relentless attacks on reproductive rights are not going anywhere; the time to fight back is now.
How can we stop future abortion bans?
The anti-abortion movement is more emboldened than ever, in part through financial support from major companies. On May 20, journalist Judd Legum looked through campaign finance databases and identified six businesses that have donated large sums of money to politicians who have supported extreme anti-abortion legislation in their state: ATT ($196,000), Eli Lilly ($66,000), Walmart ($57,000), Pfizer ($53,000), Coca Cola ($40,000), and Aetna ($26,000).
In response, many people have shamed the companies on social media, demanding that they respond to the revelations; and, if the companies remain silent, people have pledged to boycott them. As of Monday, Legum tweeted that none of the companies have issued a statement. Therefore, he has urged his followers to help put pressure on the companies, writing, “You can help.”
This post has been updated.